South River council adopts ordinance restricting off-street parking for large vehicles

No trucks over 36 tons are allowed on New Road in South Brunswick.

SOUTH RIVER–The Borough Council adopted an ordinance which will amend the municipal code, establishing off-street parking restrictions and penalties for large commercial vehicles.

All commercially registered vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating in excess of 14,000 pounds with a model year older than 2014 are prohibited from parking on private property in a residential zone, excluding commercially registered pickup trucks, according to the council.

Commercially registered pickup trucks having 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less with an additional 5,000 pounds for trailer use, Class four vehicles, based on the manufacturer vehicle specifications, are permitted to park on private property in a residential zone.

Commercially registered pickup trucks, of any weight, which have a trailer, compressor, any sort of tow behind, ladders, forms and/or any other material on overhang racks, are prohibited from parking on private property in any residential zone, according to the council.

All box trucks, cab overs trucks, chassis cab trucks, concrete mixer trucks, dump trucks, flatbed trucks, semi-tractor trailer trucks and platform trucks are prohibited from parking on private property in a residential zone, according to the council.

With a 5-1 vote, the council adopted the ordinance on Aug. 9.

Council President Tony Ciulla, Councilwoman Donna Balazs, and Councilmen James Gurchensky, Peter Guindi and Jason Oliveria voted “yes.” Councilwoman Julie Meira voted “no.”

Before the ordinance was adopted, Meira asked for clarification of the ordinance.

“It falls under the category of an oversized vehicle such as a tractor-trailer, a mason dump, a tri-axel [and] a flatbed truck. [If] a neighbor complains, the neighbor would automatically call the cops, the cops would actually answer the call. The cops cannot give an actual ticket [for a truck] that is sitting on the person’s property. What they can do is they can actually report it. The next working day they will forward it to code enforcement. Now, code enforcement takes precedence over it and they actually issue an actual ticket,” Councilman Peter Guindi said.

Guindi said it’s up to the discretion of the code enforcement officer due to the policy already being in place with the code enforcement department. The policy is that the code enforcer has the right to ticket a person, but the borough’s code enforcer has been lenient with a lot of scenarios, he said.

“This is a new law that not everyone is going to know. Of course, there are selected people that do know it, but not everybody knows. Not everyone knows what tonight’s vote is going to be [and] not everyone is going to know when this is going to take effect,” Meira said.

Guindi said there have been several meetings already where this ordinance has been discussed.

“It’s up to the discretion of the police officer if he chooses to actually give the ticket. Our police officer does the best that they can,” Guindi said. “They’re very lenient when it comes down to the word commercial, especially when it comes down to pickup trucks, but when it comes down to [an] 18-wheeler sitting on the side of Whitehead Avenue, or better yet a mason dump that is sitting in the middle of a parking lot that is private, yes, they’re probably going to end up with a ticket.”

Guindi said when it comes to these types of large commercial vehicles being on a resident’s driveway it has nothing to do with the word commercial but is based on the actual resident wanting to extend his/her driveway.

“The extension is not based on commercial, it’s based on the ordinance and based on them getting actual permits for it. So it’s just like, for example, I’ll use my parents’ house, their driveway was extended, it had nothing to do with the word commercial it had to do with three sons who drove vehicles in that house,” Guindi said. “That’s what it had to do with and [my dad] went through the proper procedure to actually do so.”

Overall, Guindi said this ordinance is about being considerate towards neighbors. A pickup truck is not what he’s concerned about, his concern is someone parking his or her 18-wheeler vehicle or mason dump truck outside of their house.

Meira said because the ordinance includes commercially registered pickup trucks that have ladders and/or any other material on overhang racks that will also be prohibited, it will affect a lot of people in the borough.

Wanting to find out about the penalty fees, Meira asked what will be the penalty fees if someone violates this new ordinance.

Business Administrator Art Londensky said a borough official is required to send a cease and desist letter to the property owner or tenant of the residence. If the property owner fails to correct the violation, the penalty is governed by borough code, which provides for up to a $2,000 fine. Additionally, in general, the fine and penalty for a violation of a zoning ordinance are in the discretion of the judge.

This ordinance will take effect after the second reading and publication as required by law, according to the council.

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